Stereo Views of Old Hong Kong

Submitted by IckyChris on Wed, 04/03/2013 - 15:16

Here is a link to the first of very many restored stereo images of Old Hong Kong. 

On this website, you can choose your favorite stereo viewing method.

I will keep adding to this first one, as I have several dozens of beautiful old stereo images of Hong Kong. These are scanned from original cards, downloaded from The Library of Congress, and from The Welcome Trust.

Most of them need a LOT of restoration work before I will put them up, but that is my hobby. I hope you will all enjoy them as they come.

If any of you have any original stereo cards, and would allow me to scan and restore them, please let me know.


Nice work, Chris, well done. I like the Wiggle view...makes some of the images almost come to life.

Of original cards, I have over 20 - and acquiring more every month. They are widely available on ebay if anyone else is interested. Just don't bid against me!  There are some very common views that pop up all the time, but also some rare items as well.

But I have many more views that I have downloaded from The Library of Congress (free to use) and from the Wellcome Trust. (I purchased an individual licence from the Trust, with promise to send them a copy of my restored versions). These are quite high resolution and were never made into stereo cards for sale to the public.

The restoration process is a bit easier with the stereo cards because if a patch of the left side is missing, it can be replaced by a patch from the right. Although you must be careful to take into account the perspective shift.  

The 3D effect is created by there being two images, taken four inches apart (same as the human eye - your brain combines these two images to give you the sense of depth - sorry if I'm explaining anything you arleady know). These stereoviews were extremely popular from the 1860s up until the 1930s. The American Civil War was photographed almost exclusively in 3D. Every photo that you are familiar with from that war is just one half of the original 3D image. 

The restoration is all done in Photoshop, of course. But then there is a great freeware 3D editor from Japan: that I use for further retouching. This program is important because it can automatically resize, rotate, and rectify any size, rotation (horizontal or vertical) difference between the images. For old cameras it was very improbable that both lenses on a stereo camera could be made identical or aligned perfectly. (Even my modern digital 3d camera has some differences).

And then another very important tool that you will need is ungodly amounts of patience. These old photos, when scanned at 500+ dpi, show up 100+ years of ticks and scratches and fades and fingerprints.

Good luck. I'll be posting many more as they come off my presses.

No, not Underwood. 
It was in a collection (more to come from this) of smaller, but still good quality, images that used a different viewer than the common stereoscope that Underwood used.
- Copyright J. Dearden Holmes, with Sunbeam Tours Ltd. London.

Thanks for reminding me that I need to go through and tag all of these. For this hosting site, I cropped that text off of the bottom of the images for asthetics sake.

In case anybody is interested, there is a very fine sample of what is probably the most common stereoview of old Hong Kong up at ebay right now..still many days left until close.  I have one of these already and am now restoring it. 

It makes use of the very common theme of posing a local with a long queue in the forground to enhance the 3D effect. 

You won't find them in much better condition than this.

This photo was taken by James RiCalton during the time of Boxer rebellion. photo was published by Underwood initially, but this company was acquired by Keystone in 1920s. Keystone republished this photo later on in gelative silver print. I prefer the original albumen print :)

Any chance to restore the kowloon city took by John Thomson first and post it here? I'm going to publish a serious of kowloon city's photo in my facebook but now I need to do some research first. :)

BTW, how much does it cost to obtain a license from wellcome? I'm also interested.




will depend on how you will use it. I bought the personal license first... I think it was around 13£? If I eventually publish, I will up the fee. But I never asked for the full fee cost.  If you do buy it, contact me here and I'll be happy to help you out with restoration.